Arsenal beat Leicester 4-3 in thrilling Premier League opener

Super-sub Olivier Giroud struck a late victor as Arsenal came from behind to beat Leicester in an unforgettable opening Premier League match.

The striker, who the Gunners signed from Lyon for an initial fee of €53 million in the summer, finished clinically to put the hosts ahead after two minutes, expertly heading home Mohamed Elneny’s cross.

Against a plucky Leicester side at a packed and tense Emirates Stadium, Arsene Wenger’s men scored twice in the last 10 minutes – first through substitute Aaron Ramsey before the much-maligned Giroud headed in the victor off Granit Xhaka’s corner.

Alexandre Lacazette’s arrival has bumped Giroud even further down the Arsenal pecking order, but having given the 30-year-old the chance to leave, Wenger was thrilled he made a decision to stay.

Giroud then sent the previously despondent Arsenal fans wild when he headed the 85th minute victor from a corner, Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel only managing to turn the ball onto the underside of the bar before it bounced over the line. In the end he chose to stay and it was one of the great days of the recent weeks for me. He’s a fantastic player, but as well he has a big weight in this squad.

He added: “We started really well and I thought we could stay in control”.

The match seemed to be following the normal script as the Gunners trailed the visitors 3-2, until Aaron Ramsey levelled things up with seven minutes on the clock, before Giroud sealed the three points in the 88th minute with a thunderous header.

Wenger was also pleased with new French signing Alexandre Lacazette, who scored after 94 seconds to equal the record for the fastest opening goal of a Premier League season.

“We kept going and the spirit of the team was absolutely outstanding”, Wenger said. “He is a collective player, an intelligent player as well”.

Amid the joy – and relief – of victory, there was nonetheless plenty to concern Wenger, not least the manner in which his side conceded all three goals.

A predictable Arsenal implosion followed, with Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy putting Leicester in front.

One of those positions is out wide and after the club’s very public pursuit of Thomas Lemar, many Arsenal fans looked at Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez as a potential signing. “One was a corner, one on build-up, one on a corner again”, he said.

“We were quite good past year on corners and I believe with a bit of work, we can get that out of the system”. “With a bit of work we can get that out of the system”.

But he drew encouragement from his side’s display.

“But you could say that Ibrahimovic transferred an identical amount of goals from France to England”. He can be a nuisance for defenders.

“We’ve been courageous to the end and thank God we won the game”. We encourage our midfield players to play balls in behind.

Fredrik Ljungberg marked his debut with the final goal in a 3-0 win over Manchester United in September 1998, while Emmanuel Adebayor got off on the right foot away to Birmingham City in February 2006.